Every business dreams of the day they get their products into the doors of a big box retailer. You may think the second you are on the shelves, your business will explode overnight, catapulting you to a new level of success. But, like every other aspect of business, if you’re not ready for the shift to big box retailers, you may struggle to find success once you’re on their shelves. If you’re not working with a wholesale distributor and feel unprepared, here’s what you should know before selling to big box retailers:

You may carry a lot of risk.

In the beginning, you may have to carry a lot of risk that comes along with being in big box retailers. For example, if you are currently manufacturing your products in a small facility, you may have to invest in moving to a new, larger facility that can handle bigger orders. Some retailers, such as Walmart, may even ask you to change certain things about your product or packaging. If you agree, you’re taking a risk by betting the deal with Walmart will be successful. But, risk is not always a bad thing for businesses. Just be sure to think carefully about each risk associated with a big box retailer distribution deal so you know it’s worth it.

Your business may depend on the retailer.

If you are only working with one or two big box retailers, you have to do everything in your power to make these clients happy. Why? Chances are, your business depends on it! If you were to lose one of these big box clients, your business would probably suffer. In some cases, it may be best to have a larger number of medium-sized retailers than it would be to have one big box client.

The retailer may have specific shipping requirements.

Each retailer tends to have specific instructions on how your products must be shipped. If you fail to follow instructions on where to put the UPC code or the address, you could find yourself subject to fees charged by the fulfillment center. The more retailers you sign with, the more instructions you will have to follow. That’s why it’s important to consider your shipping capabilities before branching out to big box retailers. Are you capable of meeting the tight timelines? Do you have a team in place you can count on to make sure all of the retailers’ instructions are followed? If not, you may not be ready to make the leap into big box retailers.

You need to support the retailer.

Just because you’ve made it to the retailer’s shelf does not mean your job is over. Once you’re in a big box retailer, you need to support them with marketing efforts to direct customers to visit the retailer. Although you will have increased visibility in their stores that could bring in a lot of new customers, you still want to let your existing customers know where to find you. This will help you keep your sales up and the retailer satisfied with your product.

Have you ever sold a product to a big box retailer? What lessons did you learn along the way? Share your experiences in the comments below!